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Search Underway for Missing Air Algerie Flight; Should Obama be Fundraising and Turmoil?; Ban Lifted On U.S. Carrier Flights To Tel Aviv; 74 More Coffins Headed To Netherlands; Botched Execution

Aired July 24, 2014 - 06:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY, with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Thursday, July 24th. Now 6:00 in the East. Kate is on assignment. We welcome Alisyn Camerota joining us.

Thank you for being with us this morning.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: My pleasure. Great to be with both of you.

And, Chris, it was great to watch you from the field. You did such compelling reporting from Ukraine.

CUOMO: Thank you very much.

Well, let's get some more right now. We have Wolf Blitzer joining us. He's coming live from Jerusalem. Breaking news from there. The FAA lifting its ban on U.S. --

* CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much. Well, let's get some more right now. We have Wolf Blitzer joining us. He is coming live from Jerusalem. Breaking news from there, the FAA lifting its ban on U.S. flights to and from Tel Aviv. Wolf, what do you make of this?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Good morning, guys. Chris, great to have you back in New York. Alison, welcome to CNN. Good to have you on our team as well. It's now up to three domestic carriers that fly between the United States and Israel that would be Delta, United and U.S. Airways when they resume their flights.

They have gotten the green light from the FAA. The agency dropped what had emerged as a 36-hour ban. They dropped that ban overnight after stopping all flights Tuesday after a Hamas rocket struck about mile away from Ben Gurion International Airport just outside of Tel Aviv. So when service actually pick up? Will other European foreign careers follow the U.S. lead?

CNN's Martin Savidge is joining us now live from Ben Gurion Airport. What are you hearing over there, Martin?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Still pretty quiet here. There is good reason for that. The FAA ban may have been lifted, but we haven't heard if the U.S. carriers are actually going to come. In the meantime, of course, it would take time for them to sort of re-get their planes back into position.

We should say though that only a couple of hours after the FAA announced that it was lifting that ban there was something else in the air over Central Tel Aviv, not aircraft but rockets, and the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces, acknowledged that there were two separate barrages launched within minutes that were intercepted, at five, maybe six rockets intercepted over Central Israel, the Tel Aviv area.

The blasts and the clouds of those intercepts were very visible right here at Ben Gurion Airport. That doesn't mean that it was at the airport. It just means you could see here and even feel the concussion here. That's going to be unsettling to the airlines. They may say that it's safe to fly, but the idea of big planes filled with people sharing airspace with either rockets or intercept missiles is not going to necessarily make those airlines feel at ease -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. I spoke yesterday with a Hamas spokesman who specifically said they were targeting Ben Gurion International Airport. The spokesman said that there are Israeli military aircraft that use that aircraft so he said it was a legitimate target.

I'm also hearing, Martin, that U.S. Airways and United, U.S. Airways flies between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv, United flies between Newark, New Jersey and Tel Aviv, they seem to be inclined to go ahead and resume their flights as early as tomorrow. Delta may be another day. That's what Israeli officials are suggesting. Are you hearing along something similar along those lines?

SAVIDGE: We haven't heard from Delta which, of course, is a major carrier for the United States. We haven't heard initially here at this airport about the other two that you just mentioned. British Airways, by the way, it should be pointed out they maintain the service throughout so it does in many ways seem to be an individual decision.

Certainly now, it will be for the U.S. carriers. The real question is going to be the perception. We already know that the number of tourists coming to Israel is down dramatically. That's not because the planes weren't coming here. That's because of the conflict that's going on.

So the planes are flying in many cases without a lot of passengers, but the significance of the planes coming to Israel, that's what's key. That's why the Israelis are glad to see the ban lifted.

BLITZER: Yes. We'll see what these three U.S. carriers decide to do in the coming hours. In the next hour, I will speak with the head of the Israeli Aviation Authority. He's the guy who has been working with the FAA to try to get this ban lifted and the ban has now been lifted. We'll check back with you, Martin, later. In the meantime, let's go back to New York -- Ali.

CAMEROTA: Great to work with you, too. The journey home continues for dozens of more victims for the MH-17 disaster. In about four hours, we expect more somber scenes like this as 74 more coffins are en route from Ukraine. Now pro-Russian rebels are claiming responsibility for downing two Ukrainian jets Wednesday and U.S. analysts are investigating if those missiles were fired from the Russian side of the border.

Our Nick Paton Walsh has the very latest from Ukraine -- Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, we know that about an hour ago, the first of two cargo planes, a Dutch C130 took the first load of 74 coffins. The rest of which will be taking off in about half hour from now, an Australian C17. They will both land at the same time because the Australian plane is a little faster in the Netherlands where again, we'll see that remarkably solemn procession of hearses repeated again.

They hope that they can continue with a similar load tomorrow and they think that might be it. I hate to get into the grim details here, but effectively they put into the coffins body bags or sometimes one body bag and are slowly going through those four refrigerated wagons.

The task of actually working out what these different body bags constitute, how many people will only happen when they are all in the Netherlands that's when the answers start to emerge and the question are there still parts of people at the crash site? There could be.

The special representative of the Australian prime minister arriving there to try and begin this international pressure to get better access to get perhaps it sealed off so forensic investigators can go through the wreckage, but that's a tough ask. You heard about planes being taken down from the sky just yesterday. There's a civil war raging.

There were lots of conflicting sides who want to blame each other so it's going to be very difficult to secure the site and then forensically investigating something that's been messed around with as much as the crash site has, extraordinarily tough, too -- Chris.

CUOMO: No question, Nick. The unknown hangs over that site both in terms of what it could mean for the victims and who is recovered and also for how it happened in the first place. Let's bring in U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt.

Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much for joining us. The question of what to do about the cause of MH-17, what to do about the cause of the conflict in East Ukraine, our focus has been Russia. Russia has not admitted involvement, doesn't seem likely they will, so at what point does the U.S. have to come forward and make the case that you can prove their involvement either with the rebels on that level or with what happened to MH-17, actual proof, actual case?

GEOFFREY R. PYATT, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Well, Chris, it's not a mystery what happened. We know that the Malaysian flight was brought down by an SA-11 fired from separatist-controlled territory. The issue now is to have a credible international investigation, which will allow the truth to come out to determine who pressed the button and set in motion this terrible tragedy.

That in turn requires the stabilization of the crash site. It requires security and it requires international investigators to be able to do their jobs on the scene.

CUOMO: But you know every moment that goes by with doubt and a lack of proof it fuels the concerns it a maybe it wasn't them. Maybe it was Ukraine. Yes, I was in Eastern Ukraine, but on the ground there, Mr. Ambassador, many people feel that either Ukraine did this or Ukraine still has blame because they are bombing towns in the eastern part of the country and that made air defense necessary. Do you buy that rationale or is it an excuse?

PYATT: Not at all, Chris. It's clear to us that the responsibility for this tragedy rests with Russia, which has provided weapons to the separatist fighters. There are separatist camps which continue to operate inside Russian territory. I'm seeing more and more reports of rockets and heavy artillery being fired from Russian territory into Ukraine, into the sovereign territory of Ukraine in order to advance the campaign of these separatist fighters.

These fighters are causing fear. The root of this crisis is in Russia's actions. It's Russia which we now look to change signals and to help create the environment for a credible international investigation.

President Poroshenko has taken an important step with his declaration of an exclusion zone of 40 kilometers around the crash site so that the investigators can do their work, but that's only possible if the separatists pull back, if the fighters withdraw, and that requires different signals from Moscow.

CUOMO: I can tell you right now that 40-kilometer zone has been breached several times since it was announced. The information that there may have been firing from inside the Russian border, is that true, and how do you know that if it's true?

PYATT: Well, at this point there are a lot of reports, including in Ukrainian media. We're looking to verify those as quickly as we can, just as we're looking to verify Ukrainian account that the two Ukrainian fighter jets yesterday were brought down by a Russian missile. What we know is that Russia's fingerprints are all over this violence and this instability.

What we know is that Russia, even after the tragedy last Thursday, has continued to provide heavy weapons, which are moving across the Ukrainian border, being smuggled across the Ukrainian border, tanks, rockets, all fueling the violence, fueling the unrest. That has to end.

CUOMO: So in a way, Mr. --

PYATT: I think as far as the government strategy is concerned, President Poroshenko -- go ahead.

CUOMO: No, please, it's much more important what you have to say, continue.

PYATT: I was going to say President Poroshenko has made clear that he seeks a political end to this violence. He has put on the table a meaningful and significant peace program, which includes the guarantees for Russian language, constitutional changes. That's the route that this crisis needs to be resolved through, through politics and diplomatic engagement, not by pouring gasoline on the fire with weapons, tanks and fighters from Russia.

CUOMO: It does seem that the more the U.S. and the west talks, the more Russia acts. You say, we have to be -- he has to do something different, Russia, Vladimir Putin, and they move more arms towards the border. At what point does the U.S. have to start arming the Ukraine forces to battle what seems to be superior firepower on the part of the militants?

PYATT: We're going to continue our support to Ukraine to help it to defend itself. We've provided about $23 million in non-lethal security assistance this year, but the fact is this crisis has to be resolved not through force, not through military action, not through arms, but through politics and dialogue. That's what president Poroshenko is advancing.

That's what the United States and our European partners have supported, but as I said the signals coming from Russia are pointing in the opposite direction. That's what we hope will change. That's what European leaders are discussing sanctions around as we speak, and that's the issue that I'm sure is going to be front and center today as the Dutch and Australian foreign ministers come to Kiev.

CUOMO: Last question. How do you make Russia change signals? Even the Dutch who have the most reason right now to be angry at Russia and outraged say it's not easy to cut off economic ties with Russia. We make a lot of money from them. The economic sanctions, as tough as they have been on the Russian economy, have not deterred the actions of that country at all with respect to Eastern Ukraine so simply what can you do?

PYATT: Well, this is not a question of sanctions for their own sake. Sanctions are intended to incentivize a change in Russia's strategic calculus. We hope that will happen. The United States, President Obama, have made clear that we are looking for a diplomatic off ramp, but it's not going to happen when Russia continues to escalate the crisis as it has done over the past few days by providing these weapons to the fighters.

By continuing its escalation of the level of violence, the shootdown of the two jets, and as I said these very concerning reports of indirect fire, artillery coming directly from Russian territory, from Russian territory across the border into Ukraine.

CUOMO: Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, to be sure there's no indication that Russia is slowing down so the reaction from the U.S. and the west is greatly anticipated. Thank you for joining us this morning. Be safe.

PYATT: Good to talk to you.

CUOMO: All right, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right, Chris, Arizona's governor is ordering a review of the state's lethal injection process following a botched execution. It took Joseph Wood nearly two hours to die after receiving a lethal drug cocktail that witnesses say he was actually snorting and gasping for breath most of the time. Woods' attorney going so far as to call this, quote, "torture." CNN's Poppy Harlow is following all of the developments. This is grisly.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it is -- when you hear what the witnesses say there are a number of different accounts and this adds to a broader discussion, which we'll get to in a moment. But you know, despite calling for a review of the process, Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer is standing by this execution calling it lawful.

She says that justice was carried out. She also noted in her statement the excruciating suffering that Woods' victims endured, but this latest execution as I mentioned is really adding to this debate over this form of lethal injection.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hear a deep, snoring, sucking air sound.

HARLOW (voice-over): That is how some witnesses are describing the execution of convicted murderer, Joseph Wood. Wood was convicted of a double murder in 1989.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Wood is dead, but it took him two hours to die.

HARLOW: Wood's attorney filed an emergency appeal and reportedly called Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in an attempt to stop the execution and stating that the process violated Wood's constitutional right to be executed without cruel and unusual punishment.

DALE BAICH, ATTORNEY FOR JOSEPH WOOD (via telephone): If the execution isn't bungled, there's no need to go in and ask the courts to intervene.

HARLOW: But the daughter and sister of Wood's two victims gave a very different account of what have happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't believe he was gasping for air. I don't believe he was suffering. Sounded to me as though he was snoring. You don't know what excruciating is. What's excruciating is seeing your dad lying there in a pool of blood, seeing your sister lying there in a pool of blood. That's excruciating. This man deserved it.

HARLOW: Earlier this year, Oklahoma halted all executions after what some called a botched execution of convicted murderer and rapist, Clayton Lockett. One of the drugs used in that execution was also used in Wood's.

The Arizona Department of Corrections denied any wrongdoing, saying in a statement that the department, quote, "followed the execution protocol", but adding that the department will conduct a full review.

But for the family of Wood's victims, the debate over drugs stirs up deep feelings.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw the life go out of my sister-in-law's eyes right in front of me, as he shot her to death. I'm so sick and tired of you guys blowing this drug stuff out of proportion, because to me, that's B.S.


HARLOW: Well, states were left scrambling for alternatives to a key drug in lethal injection, after the sole manufacturer in this country of that drug stopped producing it in recent years, other countries have also banned the import of that drug to the United States over objections to the death penalty. So, guys, they've been using a different drug and that has been the focus in a number of these executions.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So, this debate about to do will continue.

Poppy, thanks so much for that update.

HARLOW: It will. You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: Michaela?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Time to look at our headlines. Good morning to you. We start with some breaking news.

Folks, just moment ago, an Air Algerie flight lost contact 50 minutes after taking off from Burkina-Faso. The airline has now commenced the search protocol for this commercial flight. It was headed to Algiers. All of this is according to Algeria's official news agency. As soon as we get more information, we'll update you on this breaking news.

Also breaking overnight, at least 58 people are dead in Iraq after an attack by what are believed to be ISIS militants. Fighters with IEDs and suicide bombs ambushed a convoy moving prisoners outside of Baghdad. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is in Baghdad for meetings with Iraq's prime minister and newly elected speaker of the parliament. Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set to hold a hearing this morning, on options for the U.S. policy in that war-torn country.

Back here at home, Montana Senator John Walsh says post-traumatic distress disorder, quote, "may have been a factor in his plagiarism of a research thesis". A report in "The New York Times" says a quarter of the paper written back in 2007 was lifted from other sources. Democrat wrote the papers part of his work towards a masters degree at the United States Army War College. Walsh says he was also dealing with the suicide of a fellow veteran while he was writing that thesis.

I feel like there's going to be more coming up about this in coming days and hours.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Tough though because --

PEREIRA: It is a tough situation, sure.

CUOMO: -- we're learning more about PTS all time and the impact that it can have. The plagiarism is a pretty obvious thing, either is you or not, but this greatly complicates it.

PEREIRA: Yes, it does.

CAMEROTA: There's a discussion to be had about PTSD certainly.

Thanks, Mick.

PEREIRA: No problem.

CUOMO: Let's take a little break here on NEW DAY, crisis after crisis, piling up across the world. And guess who is in the middle of all of it? President Obama. He's taking heat from right and left for how he's handling everything from the Middle East to MH17. We're going to break it down with our powerhouse political panel.

Plus, an Indiana teenager was killed when his plane crashed while trying to set a record around the world flight with his dad. The dad is still missing. So, we'll have the latest for you on that search.


CAMEROTA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

President Obama remains on the West Coast, as part of a fund-raising swing to help Democrats in the mid-term elections, but the White House has taken flack from some Republicans who say the president should be in Washington to deal with the escalating crises in eastern Ukraine and the Middle East.

Does the American public agree?

Let's debate all of that with Margaret Hoover. She's a CNN political commentator and a Republican consultant, and John Avlon, a CNN political analyst and the editor-in-chief of "The Daily Beast."

Great to see you, guys.


CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.

Great to be here. Great to see you guys again. So let's talk about what the president is doing. As you know this

always happens when there's a lot happening in the world and the president goes off and does something else like fund-raising. He takes a lot of heat.

Margaret, what would you prefer he'd be doing right now?

HOOVER: Look, everybody understands this is high fund-raising season that, you know, President Bush also got criticism for fund-raising at points like this as well. The problem is, optics matter in politics and this is one of the tools that presidents have at their disposal, is to be able to use political theater to their advantage as leverage. He could send a very strong signal by simply coming home to the White House.

Yes, we know he can walk and chew gum but it sends a very strong signal to people around the world. Frankly, Putin would be watching. The Germans would be watching. The Europeans would be watching, whose cooperation we need against Russia.


HOOVER: If he'd simply use political theater to his advantage.

CAMEROTA: But just being in the Oval Office would change something, or does he need to change his policy? Is he doing something policy- wise wrong?

JOHN AVLON, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes. I mean, look, what the CNN poll shows is that the president's position and strategy on this is actually consistent with what the American people want.

CAMEROTA: Let's pull that up actually, because I do want to show that poll because what it asked is U.S. action, if evidence that Russia is responsible for the plane crash, what should the president do, basically? And most people believe that there should be some sort of economic or diplomatic action, 71 percent said it's what the U.S. has been doing.

AVLON: Yes. And let's get real here. I mean, one of the themes we've seen in this presidency is a massive gap between narrative and facts. This administration has actually taken the international lead on sanctions. Europe is still MIA, folks. Even David Cameron, great ally of the United States, couldn't get sanctions passed the U.K.

CUOMO: Why are you giving your husband the stink eye?


CUOMO: Why don't you just say that's not true?

HOOVER: What he sad is technically true, however --

AVLON: But it's not consistent with the narrative.

HOOVER: But because we've lost our influence to use our leverage with our allies, our sanctions don't matter a darn with Russia.

CUOMO: You think that's what it is?

HOOVER: It matters what the Europeans do. It matters what the English do, it matters what the Germans do.

And we frankly -- there are so many other things happening in the world right now where frankly American influence has crumbled so much. Look, this isn't just about Russia. This is about what's happening in Israel. This is about what's happening in Iraq. This is about what's happening in Syria.


HOOVER: And we have lost our influence with our allies. They don't know how we're going to react because there's no overarching foreign policy of this administration. The leading from behind has run really aground and our allies don't know what to expect from us.

CAMEROTA: OK. You're countering the stink eye with an eye roll.

AVLON: Yes, I am. I'm going to give a dignified eye roll, because look -- also in Israel, here's the United States standing with Israel, the lone dissent vote yesterday in the U.N. vote about war crimes tribunals.

You know, the U.S. is actually standing with Israel against international opinion. The American people are as well. They're standing up against Putin with economic sanctions, while Europe is MIA. One of the reasons that Europe is MIA is because their economic dependence on Putin and their reluctance to confront him even in the wake of this crash.

So, again, it's narrative versus facts. Yes, you can criticize the president for not having a clear doctrine. But the Republican vision about diminished leadership in the world does not square with the leadership that America is taking in the world right now.

CUOMO: Why isn't that placed more on your team, by saying you play opportunistic politics with everything that happens no matter how serious?

HOOVER: Rise and shine, Chris. That's what you do when you have a minority and you're not running the government. Nobody is -- Republicans have not been running the government for the last eight years.

CUOMO: Is that leadership?

HOOVER: All you guys can do --

CUOMO: Talk about leading from behind.


HOOVER: No, no, no. CUOMO: You're out of majority so you're going to be unfair about

situations that involve genocide?


HOOVER: That's totally unfair, you guys. Republicans are not running government and haven't been for the last eight years. For you to say Republicans are leading from behind -- Republicans are not in leadership positions.

CUOMO: No, I'm saying what they are doing is they keep criticizing everything no matter what it is as a proxy for leadership.

HOOVER: And so -- a proxy for leadership. We're not in elected positions.


CUOMO: It's not like you don't count.

AVLON: I think the loyal opposition has been lost in American politics in recent years. And look, both sides do it. See this hypocrisy going back throughout American history frankly with situation Olympics, but it's gotten really toxic, really ugly, and really dumb.

HOOVER: All can you do is point to President Bush eight years ago.

CUOMO: Get in there, they're taking separate calls from and just continue.

CAMEROTA: If Republicans were in a leadership position in terms of foreign policy they would make, what, stiffer sanctions?

HOOVER: Well, I think what Republicans would have done is had stronger relationships with our allies from the beginning so that our allies would be willing to cooperate. Look, you're right, we have implemented economic sanctions on Russia.

The problem is, there are rather hollow because our trading abilities with Russia to impact their GDP are far lessen compared to what the Europeans have.

So, the issue is, the relationship we have with our allies around the world and whether we're able to leverage those relationships in order to actually have a real impact. What Republicans would be doing is have an entirely different foreign policy for last eight years.

AVLON: Look, the foreign policy the last eight years was unilateralism.

HOOVER: There you go. George bush. There you go. Blame George Bush.

AVLON: No, no, no, I'm making a contrast about, you know, kumbayah. We're not talking about Brent Scowcroft's Republican Party. Ted Cruz trolling over the FAA is not about statesmanship. I mean, --

CUOMO: We'll give you a pass on that, because we're out of time. We give you a pas on Ted Cruz and the FAA stuff.

HOOVER: I thought we had six minutes.

CUOMO: You ate through like four and a half with the first screen you have there, you know? You got to get you a big clock.

HOOVER: All right. Have me back later.

CAMEROTA: That was great. Nice to see you guys.

AVLON: Good to see you.

CUOMO: When we come back on NEW DAY, we are going to talk about what's happening with the FAA in Israel. They are now green lighting American flights to go from and to Tel Aviv. Is that the right move though? Why? Because rockets are still flying and the fighting is not showing any sign of slowing down.

So, we'll take you live there and you decide for yourself.

CAMEROTA: Plus, we're following breaking news. A flight with more than 100 people on board has gone missing over Africa. We'll bring you the latest details.